Kutami Akiyasu


Kutami Clan


Bungo Province

Lifespan:  Bunki 2 (1502) to Tenshō 14 (1586)

Rank:  bushō

Title:  Governor of Mikawa, Assistant Vice-Minister of the Bureau of Central Affairs

Clan:  Kutami

Lord:  Ōtomo Yoshiaki → Ōtomo Yoshishige (Sōrin) → Ōtomo Yoshimune

Father:  Nyūta Chikakado

Siblings:  Nyūta Chikazane, Akiyasu

Children: Shigenori, Shigefusa

Kutami Akiyasu served as a bushō and retainer of the Ōtomo clan, the sengoku daimyō of Bungo Province.

Akiyasu was the second son of Nyūta Chikakado.  One of several families affiliated with the Ōtomo clan, the Nyūta occupied the Nyūta area in the Naoiri District of Bungo.  Akiyasu received one of the characters in his name from Ōtomo Yoshiaki, adopting the name of Nyūta Akiyasu.  Following a rebellion by Kutami Chikamitsu that severed ties with the Ōtomo, Akiyasu inherited the Kutami clan and changed his name to Kutami Akiyasu.  The Kutami were a legitimate branch of the Furushō clan (affiliated with the Fujiwara), lineal descendants of the Ōtomo.  In 1550, Yoshiaki and Akiyasu’s older brother, Nyūta Chikazane, died in an incident known as the Collapse on the Second Floor, an attack triggered by succession struggle within the Ōtomo clan.  Akiyasu inherited Yoshiaki’s position and continued to serve Ōtomo Yoshishige (Sōrin).  In the autumn of 1561, Akiyasu deployed for the Fourth Battle of Moji Castle.  Akiyasu assembled with veterans of the clan including Usuki Akisumi and Yoshioka Nagamasu, along with kunishū including Tahara Chikahiro, Shiga Chikanori, Yoshihiro Shigenobu, Bekki Akitsura (Tachinaba Dōsetsu), and Takita Akinari at the Ōtomo residence in Bungo.  The men commanded an army of 15,000 soldiers.

From 1569, Akiyasu possessed the authority to represent the clan as a holder of the seal.  That same year, Akiyasu joined with Ichimata Akizane and his son to attack allies of the Mōri including Nomi Munekatsu and Katsura Motoshige at the Battle of Tatarahama.  In 1578, Akiyasu and Shiga Chikamori served as commanding generals of the forces from Higo Province at the Battle of Mimikawa in Hyūga Province.

In 1586, during the Hōsatsu War, Akiyasu had already retired and was bed-ridden with illness.  Akiyasu aimed to strengthen the defenses at Mifune Castle which served as an auxiliary to his home base at Yamano Castle.  However, upon learning that the soldiers were attempting to surrender, he overcame his illness to join the fight.  Akiyasu’s eldest son, Kutami Shigenori, was in charge of defending Mifune, but evacuated to Yamano instead.  Akiyasu and Shigenori took refuge in Yamano, but Akiyasu succumbed to illness.  According to one source, Akiyasu was indignant at Shigenori’s contemplation of a settlement, and died thereafter.

Interaction with missionaries

Akiyasu listened to the teaching of missionaries, and, together with Shingenori, attempted to convert to Christianity, but, after encountering fierce resistance from their family and ancestral temple, gave up the plan.  Instead, his second and third sons became Christian owing to their distance from issues of succession.  Akiyasu allowed the conduct of evangelical activities in his domain, and as many as 300 locals joined the faith.  Two elders of the Kutami clan also became Christians.  According to notes from missionaries, Akiyasu and Shigenori always carried around rosary beads.